SKIN cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.
Most people associate it with a change in mole shape or size on the body, but you can also develop it in your eyes and on your eyelids.
From time-to-time, we all get itchy eyes. It could be because we are tired, or because we have caught an infection such as conjunctivitis.
Itchy eyes can also be a symptom of eyelid cancer and shocking images have revealed one case of a 47-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the condition.
She had been suffering with the itching for two weeks and also said she felt as though there was a 'foreign body' in her right eye.
The woman visited an ophthalmology clinic in Xi’an, China and was examined by medics.
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The examination revealed that her eyelid was protruding.
When her eyelid was turned inside out (eyelid eversion), brown patches were found, also known as a pigmented lesion.
The woman was diagnosed with malignant melanoma of the palpebral conjunctiva.
Dr Peng Zhang and Dr Lian Chen at the hospital said conjunctival melanomas, like the one found on the patient account for a minority of ocular melanomas.
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Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the medics said the patient was diagnosed in August 2021 and that since then she has received treatment.
After a follow up this week, they added that the lesion had not expanded.
KNOW THE SIGNS
While the woman's main symptoms had been an itchy eye, it's key to understand the key signs when it comes to melanomas.
A malignant melanoma, like the one this patient was diagnosed with, is one of the most invasive types of skin cancer.
It's highly curable if caught early.
Experts at Columbia Department of Ophthalmology revealed the key signs you need to know of melanoma of the eye
- A bump that is smooth, shiny, pearly, waxy or firm and red
- Sore lump that bleeds
- Flat, flesh-coloured or brown scar-like lesion
- Rough and scaly red or brown patch
- Itchy or tender flat spot with a crusty surface
- Sty that does not heal
- Loss of eyelashes
Eyelid cancer can be diagnosed after an examination of the eye lid by specialist medics.
In order to confirm the diagnosis a biopsy is usually taken and doctors will also have to check if the cancer has spread beyond the eyelid.
To do this they will usually take scans or a biopsy from the sentinel lymph node, as this is the area where it will most likely spread to.
The patient in China had treatment in the form of pembrolizumab, and your clinician will advise on the correct treatment for your case.
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Other treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy and cryotherapy – the use of extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen.
If you are concerned about any symptoms then you should visit your GP.
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